It was late on a Friday at the discount drug, the right kind of night for conversation between a lone clerk and her one customer, me.
I had pointed to the cover photo of a fall magazine displayed on the counter. It showed a jack o’ lantern fashioned from a regular old pumpkin, but with twin rows of perfect little fangs and two large eyeballs hanging by a seeming thread from the two eye sockets carved in the its big orange ‘face’.
“Who carves a jack-o’-lantern this perfectly?” I asked.
“Right,” said the cashier, also looking at the image. “You’d need to use a scalpel to carve that precisely!”
“AND be Michelangelo!”
“Right!” said the cashier, ringing in a few of my items.
“I know we’re midway through October but I keep hoping it’s still August,” I then said. “I’m don’t seem to be at all ready for the autumn stuff.”
“Totally,” said the cashier. “I feel bad. I haven’t done any fall stuff in years. When’s the last time I went apple picking?”
“I don’t think I’ve EVER been apple picking, not in the real way where you pay money to do it,” I replied. “All I know about apple picking is from that Robert Frost poem where even in his sleep he still feels the rungs of the ladder against the soles of his feet.”
“I bet it’s been ten years since I’ve carved a pumpkin,” the cashier said sadly.
“The squirrels just eat them anyway. What a sight it was the last time I came upon that ruined cranium. I felt like I’d stumbled onto the set of The Walking Dead.”
“How about doing a corn maze?” I asked. “Have you ever done that?”
“No, you know I never have!” she said. “What’s it like?”
“Well the whole corn maze thing was new to me until a few years ago.”
“And was it fun, making your way through it?” asked the cashier.
“Sure! Well, actually no, it was more scary than fun. “A corn maze is really kind of hard: You get lost.”
“Is the corn that tall?”
“The corn can be SO tall! We had no idea how to find our way out. And it got really cold. And then the sun went down.”
“Jeez!” said the cashier. “It sounds like Stephen King’s Children of the Corn?”
“Let’s never do any more corn mazes!” I all but yelped.
“I won’t if you won’t,” smiled the cashier, and handed me my bagged purchase.
And with that I departed the store, glad for the merry exchange and resolving to carve up a pumpkin head anyway, and let those toothy little squirrels get in some noshing.